Recently read…

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At the suggestion of Bookshelf friend David Jordan, this will serve as a home for older “recently read” snippets as they get replaced by newer items. Not all of them have reviews or author conversations, but I have included links when they are.

The books are listed in descending order, newest to oldest

Most recent books read:

Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution, by Brian Kenny
Grade: B-. Lots of through-provoking stuff about the way fans think about the game (or don’t) by the MLB Network broadcaster.

The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers, by Michael Leahy
Grade: A+. Touching look at several members of the team in the context of the times.

Kings of Queens: Life Beyond Baseball with the ’86 Mets, by Erik Sherman
Grade: B+. A bittersweet look at some of our heroes, now grown old.

Intangiball: The Subtle Things That Win Baseball Games , by Lonnie Wheeler
Grade: B-. Nice tribute to unsung qualities, with great examples, but loses steam in sustaining for a full book.

Baseball Immortal: Derek Jeter: A Career in Quotes, by Danny Peary
Grade: B+. Yeoman’s work in assembling thousands of quotes that tell the story of this future Hall of Famer. On the other hand, given Jeter’s milquetoast personality, perhaps too much of a good thing?

The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, and Baseball’s Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy, by Filip Bondy
Grade: B-: A lot of tangential material that may add to the deep backgro0und about the relationship between the Yankees and Royals or “puff it up” too much, depending on the reader’s point of view.

When the Yankees Were on the Fritz: Revisiting the Horace Clarke Years, by Fritz Peterson
Grade: C-. Interesting recollection hampered by poor editing.

Strangers in the Bronx: DiMaggio, Mantle, and the Changing of the Yankee Guard, by Andrew O’Toole
Grade: B-. Interesting treatise on the DiMaggio/Mantle relationship, but too much filler.

Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer, by Rob FItts
Grade: A. Fascinating story of a “pioneer” and an intimate look into Japanese baseball culture.

Pedro, by Pedro Martinez with Michael Silverman.
Grade: C-. Few redeeming qualities. Yeah, it’s a memoir, but he doesn’t have to be so egotistical about it.

The Journey Home: My Life in Pinstripes, by Jorge Posada with Gary Brozek.
Grade: B-. Pleasant enough but nothing outstanding about it.

Split Season: 1981: Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, by Jeff Katz
Grade: B-. I wonder how many fans are that interested in the well-researched and detailed “behind closed doors” machinations of the labor dispute.

The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes, by Gary Cieradkowski
Grade: A. Fun all around, from the stylized artwork to the engaging narratives.

A History of Baseball in 100 Objects, by Josh Leventhal
Grade: B-. Handsome book because of photos, but basically one more “listicle.”

Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story: A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Greatest Obstacles, by Ed Lucas and Chris Lucas
Grade: A-. Sweet, inspirational story. Could have used more baseball info, but that’s obviously a personal call by the author.

Baseball Maverick: How Sandy Alderson Revolutionized Baseball and Revived the Mets, by Steve Kettmann
Grade: B. Solid work.

Baseball Maverick: How Sandy Alderson Revolutionized Baseball and Revived the Mets, by Steve Kettmann
Grade: B. Solid work.

Tommy Lasorda: My Way, by Colin Gunderson
C-: Nothing but a lovefest for Lasorda, with no mention of his “darker” side.

Billy Martin: Baseball’s Flawed Genius, by Bill Pennington
A: Has to be considered the definitive bio of the “troubled” Martin.
(Posted April 2, 2015)

Yankee Doodles: Inside the Locker Room with Mickey, Yogi, Reggie, and Derek, by Phil Pepe
A-: Sweetly digestible nuggets about the veteran author’s favorite personalities and moments as a beat writer for the Yankees.
(Posted March 18, 2015)

Gil Hodges: A Hall of Fame Life, by Mort Zachter
B+: Perhaps the definitive bio of an underrated Boy of Summer.
(Posted March 18, 2015)

Joe Black: More Than a Dodger, by Martha Jo Black and Chuck Schoffner
B-: Fairly standard bio, somewhat improved by the character of the subject. Points off for “misrepresenting” authorship, though.

The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine, by Bennett Jacobstein.
A: Entertaining and informative history of the subject, plus a team-by-team rundown of indigenous eats.
(Posted Feb. 3, 2015)

100 Years of Who’s Who in Baseball, by Douglas B. Lyons.
B-: Nostalgic look at the covers of a baseball magazine institution with little beyond.
(Posted Jan. 20, 2015)

Bats, Balls, and Hollywood Stars: Hollywood’s Love Affair with Baseball, by Joe Siegman
B: Fun looking at the veritable who’s who of celebrity who were baseball wannabes. More profiles of the participants would have been welcome, as well as color photos, but still worth it for lovers of both baseball and entertainers.
(Posted Jan. 19, 2015)

Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball, by Roger Kahn.
C. Hate to say it, but there’s little “new” information here and the legendary sportswriter comes off a bit mean-spirited.

Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos, by Jonah Keri. Greatly looking forward to this definitive history of my second favorite team.
B+: A nice blast from my past. Very nostalgic.

The Devil’s Snake Curve: A Fan’s Notes From Left Field, by Josh Ostergaard
B+: Interesting and thought-provoking, even if I thought it was too Yankee-centric.

Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game Is Really Played, by Jason Kendall.
A- — After finishing Kendall’s book, I don’t have enough eyes to keep track of all the “inside-baseball” that can only be observed in person; television doesn’t offer enough angles to keep track of everything.

 

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